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Singapore Zika cases top 150, China steps up arrivals checks

Singapore is the only Asian country where the virus, a mosquito-borne disease which causes birth defects in pregnant women, has spread to.? Photograph: (Getty)

Singapore Sep 01, 2016, 11.07 PM (IST)
Singapore has detected 151 people with the Zika virus, a leading financial centre and transit hub for people and cargo said. 

An outbreak of Zika is confirmed to have spread to neighbouring Malaysia following which China has ramped up its checks on people and goods arriving from Singapore. 

"We have been tracking Zika for a while now, and knew it was only a matter of time before it reached Singapore," Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong posted on his Facebook page.

"Our best defense is to eradicate mosquitoes and destroy breeding habitats, all over Singapore."

India's foreign ministry said that 13 of its nationals tested positive for the Zika virus in Singapore. 

"According to our mission in Singapore 13 Indian nationals have tested positive for Zika in Singapore," Vikas Swarup, spokesman for the Ministry of External Affairs, told Reuters. 

Singapore is the only Asian country where the virus, a mosquito-borne disease which causes birth defects in pregnant women, has spread to. 

Meanwhile, Malaysia has confirmed its first case of Zika in a woman who had visited to Singapore. 

Indonesia has also stepped up measures follwing the outbreak in Singapore by intensifying airport checks and posting paramedics at airports and border checkpoints.  

Zika is primarily spread by mosquitoes but can also be transmitted through unprotected sex with an infected person.

A case of suspected transmission through a blood transfusion in Brazil has raised questions about other ways it may be spread. 

Companies and government agencies are working to developing vaccines against Zika. Japanese drugmaker Takeda Pharmaceuticals said it has joined the effort with help from US funding. 

(WION with inputs from agencies)
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